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(c)4 groups for a while. their reception 527 for political committees. one of the big questions the irs is asking is are these committees and organizations that are applying to less to political? if they are they should register under section 527 to social welfare organizations and charities are not supposed to be shadow political parties. they are not supposed the shatt a political action committees or candidate committees. they are supposed to exist for the advancement of social welfare. they are allowed to do lobbying.
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they are allowed to express advocacy. but there must be a limited mount of their budget and time and resources and the irs is also asking whether or not these groups are set up for private benefit. they do not want a charity to be masquerading as a tax-exempt organization when it is not benefiting the general public but a private entity. host: to help our audience understand this more we have some information regarding 501(c)4. they do not have to pay taxes on their revenue nor publicly disclose donors and typically said the leagues, social welfare groups, or local associations. some examples include the nra r the sierra club. does the tea party fit in with this group? guest: those are great example its of what 501(c)4's are. t is like the colonoscope or
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the rotary. there have been incentives that have been changed in politically non-active nonprofits in the wake of u.s. supreme court decisions. those incentives have helped the groups become more politically active as we have seen a larger number of groups getting into before re -- getting into the foray. and a maroon it did -- it is a means to stay in politics game. it is important to remember hat the organizations that are out there under the 501(c)4 ode, whether you are a epublican or democrat you have ssues that are near and dear
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to your heart. most of those organizations exist with a 501 at the space (c)3 -- 501(c)3. it is a lobbying arm of an rganization. host: the applications for 501 (c)4 status rose from 15 at 91 to 3398. - from 1591 to 3398. if you want to get involved in the conversation we will put the numbers up on the screen for you. we are going to take this call from james on our line for emocrats to get -- for democrats. aller: it seems strange that
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the congress is so upset over this irs thing right now. it is ridiculous. hey did this to the liberals and there was not a word said. all of a sudden it is a big scandal. what really upsets me is the guys that are sitting up there asking the questions are the biggest hypocrite of all. they are sitting there doing absolutely nothing. the irs acted within the
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law. the irs did not go outside of the law to target these groups. host: your response? uest: congress has the ability o make and ship the lot. one of the points raised in the report was some of the ambiguity that is at play when they're trying to figure out if the organization might be political or set up too much for the private benefit. you saw republicans and democrats both going after the ira's and both parties seem concerned about this. host: does there seem to be any movement towards legislation that would more define these arious status? guest: we have heard a lot of talk in recent years in the tax reform community and campaign finance reform community that there are big issues out there that they think deserve levels f advancement. we are waiting to see what will come from this particular situation. host: next up is daniel on airline for republicans in north carolina.
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o ahe caller: i was watching the hearings last night. i am a young guy who doesn't ith politics and i am very disheartened to see interests were not given last night. host: give me an example of a question where you do not think an answer was clear. caller: it isn't clear fact that congressmen from both aisles asked that last time steven miller testified on the act that he presented -- all that we are given is, "i told the truth." we are hearing contrary leaks from the news is
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organizations. i was this done by -- i appreciate mr. kelly's statement to the irs commissioner, mr. smith. host: there was some exasperation expressed by some f the members given the fact that mr. steven miller had been up on the health several weeks ago talking about irs oversight, going through what they had done during the latest tax season and there was no mention of this situation oming out of cincinnati. guest: to question a lot of people still have is to, what, when, and why were you not telling us more about it. this is the first of many hearings that is going to be
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eld on this topic. we will have both the house and the senate trying to press for more answers. ost: next up is lee in middelburg, florida on our line for independents. you are on "washington journal." caller: good morning. i wanted to say a couple of things. when you have a snake in your house you do not cut the tail off. you go for the head, that is where the poisonous. there seems to be an amnesia cloud hanging over washington dc. i would like to see jail time for some of these people. i also think the president obama is the number one example f why we should of never elved into affirmative
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action. host: is there any indication that anyone will be going to jail over this? ny criminal investigation? guest: 1 of the points in the inspector general's report is that this started in incinnati. they are coming up with these buzzwords that are used as a shorthand for which groups deserved extra scrutiny. so far we have not seen that ising to a higher level of executive authority. you did see last week when the speaker made his first comments.
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he was asking who was going to jail for that, so that is what i think will continue to hear. host: you mentioned this was the first of several hearings, nd next week there are two hearings on tuesday, the senate finance committee will take up this issue and then on wednesday, the house of government reform committee will also take a look at this. ne of the witnesses is the director of the organization division at the irs. who is lois lerner? guest: she has been at the heart of this because she works in the tax exempt division of the irs. it has got about 900 people who are working on the tax exempt organization application process figuring out if they merit tax exemption and going to the steps associated with that. she has come from the federal lection commission and she worked there for a number of
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years and transferred over into the irs. she is a lawyer who has been very involved with this. t was her comments at the merc and bar association that broke the news, the fact there had been this targeting of conservative and departing -- tea party organizations. ost: our next call for michael beckel comes from jane's -- james in pennsylvania. caller: glad to be on this morning. it is a great thing that michael is with us today, because he has -- is offering truth to the situation. i am making light of yesterday's hearing. some may think i am cynical, but in today's world, you have to find a way to stay sane if you want to make an attempt to understand what is happening in the political world. i thought it played a comedy routine, i can't wait until the
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politicians deal with him. i think it is a serious matter, but the talking points are the irs -- mr. beckel will show us another side to the story. he will offer points that speak o the truth. host: thanks, james. he mentioned the former commissioner of the iraq that will be at both of the hearings on tuesday and wednesday. - irs. explain his role in this. caller: -- guest: i want to thank the caller. mr. shulman was appointed by former president bush. the irs is full of civil servants. they are generally not
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politically appointed. the director of the irs is appointed and mr. shulman was in a leadership role, people re very interested to see what he has to say on the subject. host: this project started before he moved on and was acting commissioner? guest: that is exactly right. host: phoenix event -- phoenix arizona, independent line. host: your question or comment? caller: i watched the whole hearing, and the questions that the congressmen were reading ack that were -- people were applying to these are whatever
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they are, they were really pretty insane. i mean, send us all your -mails, webpages, i just thought it was ridiculous. the commissioner was so arrogant. i don't know why he should go to prison. he is going to get a full retirement package, i think that is really insane. guest: one of the things that we saw mr. miller apologize for yesterday was horrible customer service. these many cases, organizations have applied and have waited not just weeks or months, but in some cases years to figure out if they are receiving tax-exempt status. as part of the process, they have had to fork over also to of information.
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eople complained about needing o give up donor lists or answer questions whether they knew a local activist or answer questions whether they knew in the body in their organization ever planned to run for office or previously run for office. one group said give copies of all things they have distributed to members. they had a book club surveys and then copies of books there were reading. they said this is what we're doing and we are trying to comply with this. it took literally years to resolve sunday's cases and in many cases, their unresolved. -- some of these cases. the other point, it was not necessarily a mistake on the part of the irs to ask him these questions. sometimes it is relevant to know if there is a donor involved, if that person may be is also getting a contract. the role in this is trying to ferret out whether there is a social welfare primary purpose r if it is a means of a public advocacy work going to be to
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private or if it is going to be too political. sometimes they have asked for the information but mr. miller apologized for making that step -- inappropriate step in the application process. ost: during the ways and means hearing, paul ryan who also chairs the house budget committee had a chance to question the commissioner steve miller and made mentioned that he thought that miller was misleading congress in his previous testimony. >> the law governing how you must respond to congressional inquiries requires you to tell not only the truth, but to tell the whole truth. you quote cannot conceal or cover up by any trick, scheme or device or material fact. how was that not misleading his committee?
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you knew targeting was taking place. you just acknowledged a minute ago they were outrageous and when you were asked about this after you were briefed about this, that was the answer you gave us? how can we not conclude you misled this committee? >> that was about questions, sir. i did not mislead the committee. i scan my answer then and i stand by it now. ost: michael beckel of the center for public integrity. do you think stephen miller misled the congress? guest: that is a question a lot of people are still trying to figure out as we look at the chain of events. we know the started in 2010, but the interior -- that the criteria was in place for 18 months where people were trying to do the job they had in front
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of them. we looked at the surge in pplications and it does come at a time where there are fewer staff members that are working in the division. one of the things the report commented on is that many of these organizations that were targeted and profiled with buzz words would have deserved scrutiny even if a more robust approach would've been used. some were inappropriately delayed and some of them that went through the process with more expediency should have been flagged. i think a lot of people are waiting for more answers on the topic. host: back to the phones, our conversation with michael beckel, the center for public integrity. pennsylvania, democrat line. caller: hi, can you hear me ok? ost: i sure can.
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caller: what i want to talk about was i grew up in the atergate era, and if this ends up as highest white house -- as igh as the white house, it would be interesting to know exactly when the white house knew the information and how deeply they were involved. recorded and have watched three times the hearing and the testimony, and one of the things that really, for me, hits the mark -- i call it the hit list or the be on the lookout list, the tea party, pro-life, patriots, we the people, 912 project, national organization for marriage. the fact they use the irs from the fbi, the atf as was brought up by and was mostly epublicans that brought it up,
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in this hit list, in the internal audit by the investigator general -- the audit was by no means a thorough investigation under ath. he admitted there was a hit list. it really seems -- with timing like this, i am disappointed as a democrat because it seems like this was intended to nfluence even in a small way to influence the president election. host: was there a hit list? guest: one of the things that he mentioned was that there ave been letters that were
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written. we have seen some from senators trying to draw attention to the rise of nonprofits for some time in the wake of the itizens united ruling -- these are both democratic activists embrace the vehicle which had been freed today corporate money, union money, take unlimited funds from individuals to run political ads. they were trying to draw attention to some of these big groups on the left. we have seen priority usa and patriot majority usa, which was started by a strategist who has read about harry reid. on the right, we have ross
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rhodes gps, which stands for grassroots policy strategy. it was by karl rove. these are big fish that were out there. the buzzwords that were being used were patriots, tea party, 912 project, referring back to glenn beck's organization. we have seen this may the irs has not focused on some big political spenders but instead got wrapped up in these smaller organizations across the nation. host: we have got a timeline from the national ocus on the irs timeline -- host: the decision held the government could not stop unions from spending money to back or denounce political candidates. a little bit later on,
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applications job, the irs says it receives a flood of applications for organizations eeking 501(c) four status over two years. the number of applications jumps to 3400. the third item on this imeline, profiling starts in march of 2010 because of the surge in applications. the irs centralizes the review of applications. they use words such as tea party and patriot, according to he ap.
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citizens united leads to a surge and because of this there aren't enough people to handle applications at the irs? guest: political minded nonprofits have existed for quite some time. this led to certain organizations being able to do political and issue advocacy. if you fast-forward into the last decade, you had the isconsin decision that started
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loosening some of the things hat could be done by nonprofits. in the past, these always relied on donations from individual people that could not take corporate money and could not take union treasury money. they had to rely on unlimited contributions. n the wake of citizens united, all that changed. you can now take union money or corporate money or an unlimited check from an individual at the nonprofits. you have this big pot of money and you can decide how to spend
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it. maybe some will go to issue ads or robo calls or tv ads. the incentives have changed. there are really a few key nonprofit organizations that accounts for the bulk of the political spending that we have seen. there's been a rise in nonprofits but there's also been a view -- few that have been of the cream of the crop that have been the bulk of this spending. host: we are taking a look at the irs targeting conservative groups. our guest is michael beckel. our next call is from georgia on the line for republicans. caller: thank you. i want to say thank you to mr. beckel for the great work of the center for public integrity is engaged in. i received your e-mails and follow the online. i think a little bit different position. ny unfair treatment by the
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government sanctioning potical process or even the nonprofit process, my position is this -- i think anybody with a little bit of general understanding realizes that for the most part, the tea party crowd is very much a political -- hard-core political advocacy group with very little dynamics will bring to their work. i have seen tea party stuff would have done some educational dynamics and i appreciate that, but i want to ake a little bit different
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position. i think that perhaps the scrutiny following sentences in a bit over-the-top. i i figure to be more scrutiny on other organizations, not just the tea party. maybe a little bit of overzealousness has taken place with the tea party dynamic, if that is happened, that is unfair. there should be more focus on the other organizations. host: give me an exam of an organization you think needs to be looked at in the same way that the irs is opposed to a been looking at the tea party. caller: in all fairness, you're asking me to name and a limitation that most likely, as you have are the established, you're the number of organizations that apply for nonprofits, most of them are not big-name organizations. i think that is a little bit -- that is a difficult task to say. i just think the irs may have een doing -- not necessarily a fair job, but looking at -- the fact is, the tea party group for the most part is not serving the fundamental educational dynamic. look at the work that the center for public integrity airing -- look at this that is the present. that is serious, hard-core educational dynamics, whereas tea party does not do that. host: we will leave it there, michael beckel. guest: one of the distinctions is that the 501(c) 4, part of the tax code is sort of a grab bag. there are groups with a wide variety of issues and agendas that can operate with a social
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welfare purpose. the scrutiny that these groups get can be applied to them, but to answer the question, they show that they are not going to operate for private gain, if they're going to operate for a general welfare purpose, liberal groups on all sides of he spectrum they get in this tax status. you have abortion-rights groups, civil rights groups. all across the board created this is a tax status that is used to do advocacy and no one wants is part of the tax code to be used as a place for hadow political parties.
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>> people have asked questions whether they were part of the uzzwords are whether organizing for action should've been part of the buzzwords. when the report was issued, hey said clear guidance should be issued to help ferret out which groups deserve special scrutiny. host: a report that says nonprofits outspend super pacs in 2010 and the trend may continue. why do you think this trend is
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going to continue and how does that play into the larger story we're covering? guest: the citizens united supreme court case was a big game changer. when you have got the ability to be involved in politics, one of the things we have seen over the years, do you disclose the donors or at what level do you have to disclose donors? political committees of all stripes have to disclose all people who give money over $200 to them. if you're one of these groups that exists in the political arena, there's a certain amount of disclosure that is mandated by law. super pacs can accept unlimited mounts of money, the price they play is meeting to disclose all donors they get more than $200. on the other side, you have this renewed interest in 501(c)
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4 or decisions that are also allowed to advocate for candidates. they can do much of the same types of advertising, they just can't do that with 100% of their money. they only have to disclose donors who earmark a particular contribution for a particular ad, and noticeably that rarely happens. if you're just going out, raising a lot of money for people,, saying we have got this general interest in advancing conservative values or advancing democratic values and you get all this money and you put into gear treasury and start mending -- spending, there's very little donor disclosure that is required with that. host: michael beckel from the center for public integrity focus on super pacs and influence of money on elections. he is here to talk about the irs. maryland, independent line. caller: thank you. think the work that the center for public integrity might failed to expand on this is a little bit -- i am concerned about the effect this
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will have on anybody that's -- that wants to report something and federal government. the irs supposed to be national we want to operate within the law. in this case, that was not something that happened. i'm sorry, i'm getting feedback. host: go ahead and wrap your thoughts. caller: if you see something, say something. this undercuts the trust of the government because if you see something and say something to the wrong person or to the wrong is but a general or to the wrong reporting agency, that person is trying to do the right thing might be the person that is subjected to scrutiny r retribution. guest: nobody wants the irs to be used as a political tool or a political arm of one administration or another, whether that is republican or democratic, there's a lot of fear about using or misusing the power of the irs.
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you have groups out there that have received horrible customer service. that was a phrase used during he hearing yesterday, and we have seen it and some of the big spending groups that they have been operating under certain assumptions that they may or may not receive tax-exempt status. if you are a smaller organization or more grassroots ocused, going to a big donor or going to a foundation, trying to get support for what you're doing and he don't have a ruling letter from the irs, that can be a discouraging thing. host: our next call from oklahoma. democrat line. caller: hi, michael. it is kind of nice to hear from that last republican. i agree with him. he is looking at it from a nonpartisan point of view. a person would have to be crazy to think the tea party is not a political organization. i think it is up to congress to work something out because a lot of the reasons they're going to these 501(c)4 is that they are trying to avoid disclosing all their money is
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coming from. i think with the irs, they don't have enough people working. it makes it hard for them. it is hard to get to the bottom of it and find out why -- host: we will leave it there. in addition to the 501(c)4's, allowing them to take in money undisclosed, they also don't
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have to disclose where they spend the money? guest: the question is a little more complicated. if i produce an advertisement that helps a particular candidate or votes against ethnic -- a particular candidate, i am doing something the government has defined as an independent expenditure. i have to say when this is airing, who is produced it, what candidate is named in the ad and whether it was for or against that add. if you are engaging in political activity, there is disclosure of spending. if you just produce an ad that mentions a candidate, if you're doing that in a certain timeframe ahead of the election, that falls under a type of classification that has been called election communications. if it is on tv, cable or radio that is going out within 60 days of a general election or 30 days of a primary, you have to disclose that spending. if you say -- a direct mailer hat much of the candlelit --
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candidate that does not take a position on whether the candidate should be reelected -- would've is that an example in the montana court race, there was a organization that put out a couple of mailers that said the impartiality of the supreme court is important. this candidate has a history of contributing more to democrats, call him today or sign the online position best addition -- petition. they never had to report that to any election authority. once a year, a nonprofit also files a form 990. you get a little bit of information about top vendors and how much money they raised during the calendar year, how much money they spent during the calendar year, depending on which organization they are
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talking about. there is number information out there. you can see what type of grants there are and salaries. one of the things we have done is look at these interconnecting webs of nonprofits from a democratic ide and republican side. you have got these organizations operate in a funneling money to each other. there is a big group in arizona which is a little more than a mailbox on paper. it has been responsible for funneling tens of millions of dollars to other conservative nonprofit organizations. host: we have another tweet, this one is from flight for freedom -- do provide educationhost: ed is on our line for . republicans --
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calling from columbia station ohio. go ahead. caller: thank you very much. this is against the law. this is corrupt. this is illegal. i am a contributor individual. my family, mom and dad, all our money we've sent for years. if you don't like the law change it. but you single out, if i was a democrat i'd be outraged about this. if i was a republican, which i am, turned on them. chopping heads is not the answer. every time there is a briefing, they let this go. for years they've been slowing this down. conservative groups, nothing else. everyone i hear debating talking about it's illegal.
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well, it's the same for everybody. the democrats have all theirs. there are thousands of them if not more. host: we're going to leave it there. guest: one of the reports, the i.g. report raised it was tea party groups, the 912 groups that were singled out only accounted for a third of the entire case file that became a subject of the report. these were buzz words that were used and it remains to be used. what cite i can't process the i.r.s. is going to use going forward from here. tea party groups and conservative groups weren't the only ones. we had liberal groups who were denied their status. when you look at non-profit names don't have these really highly partisan charged words
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in them. at the same time that cite i can't alone is week of whether or not they plan to engage in political activity. the i.r.s. form says do you plan to engage in lobbying. do you plan to actively support candidates for public office which one of the key take aways from the inspector general is what cite i can't should the i.r.s. be using and can the i.r.s. develop a more clear guidance which organizations deserve an extra look. host: some more stops on the i.r.s. time line n. november 2012 president obama wins reelection. non-profit groups spent $1 billion on the 2012 campaign, more than 2/3 helped republican candidates. shule man who was appointed by bush steps down. i.r.s. veteran stephen miller succeeds him on an acting
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basis. in april 2013 the white house counsel is notified and learns of the situation as jay carney later told reporter. admits and apologizes for singling out conservative groups. our independence line. caller: how are you? host: fine. o ahead. caller: the american people would probably be interested in knowing the history of the i.r.s. it was ratified in 1915 or 1916. but we didn't have an income ax prior to that time. and the whole thran some people say we have an internal revenue
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service and the income tax is the federal reserve and i think -- i hear an ecoin there. >> none on this end but thanks for your call. guest: the tax code has evolved over the years. 501 c 4, you'll notice there are dozens of different organizations so the center for c-4 ic integrity is a 501- organization. the denations you make are tax deductible. ut if you look at the c-4 or c-17's, they have different thrules apply to them. f you make a donation to a
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501-c-4 you can't write that off. that's e a 501-c-5, labor unions. there are many designations under the tax code and the focus has been on 501-c-4's that have spiked in recent years. host: michael, thank you for being on the program. >> on the next "washington journal" the political fallout from the news and how can it affect immigration reform. then surveillance in the u.s. following the news that the justice department seized associated press phone records. and a discussion on the recent pentagon report on sexual assault in the military with the co-founder of the's
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service action network. "washington journal" is live on c-span.t 7:00 >> next is u.s. and south korea's options in dealing with north korea. after that a discussion about u.s. laws and standards for overseas workers. then the senate agriculture committee marks up the farm bill. >> on nond former assistant secretary of state for east asia talked about relations with north korea in light of new threats from the kim regime. he said north korean leaders are not likely to use their nuclear weapons for offensive purposes though he would not rule out further nuclear tests. this is an hour and 15 minutes. >> let me introduce -- it's a great pleasure to introduce one
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f my great friend who is better known as the president korea society or acting secretary of state for -- >> you keep promoting me. did you know him? glad to i am very have this top expert on north korea. and also let's give him a big hand first. [applause] >> thank you very much. >> and a couple of my colleagues who are with me is incumbent journalist actually
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the president of one of the largest newspaper in korea. he used to be managing editor now president of the .ublication [applause] . >> and my best friend who used news the president of like associated press here. but only few weeks ago he was e president of that and he resigned voluntary. [applause] >> and i want to make a little we of a comment as to why had to naug rate this kind of
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club. as i told you before, we who newspapers for the in washington as washington correspondent went back to korea i can't and saw a lot of youngsters who didn't understand the history of the american korean aligns came out on the street to demonstrate and chanting slogans, anti-american slogans. so with all that we got together and decided to do something. we are the members of the press lub and i'm the 20th president of there and the first president, he used to be chief of associated press in seoul who was elected press club
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president. so that together to we would try to be of some help in enhancing the understanding between two great peoples as aligns romoting the between the united states and korea. that's why we are here to talk about the future of great american friendship as well as better understanding between two people's. and so i had the pleasure of inviting him to present his for korea prospect corporation. >> thank you very much, david. and thanks to all of you for
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being here and special thanks to the club for your initiative in making this event possible. many of those demonstrators he referred to a few moments ago were camped outside the embassy i was part of a few years ago. i know of what you speak personally and at considerable volume and i know well the great work that you have done to improve the situation between our two countries to the point where we have the incredible relationship that we have today. also a word thanks to kei. a big fan of what you do great work you have done to make this event possible today. and thanks to both organizations for your timeliness in selecting today to do this.

News Politics and Public Affairs
CSPAN May 19, 2013 1:10am-2:01am EDT


TOPIC FREQUENCY Irs 13, The Irs 7, Michael Beckel 6, Korea 5, Washington 5, U.s. 4, North Korea 3, Us 3, Mr. Miller 2, Mr. Shulman 2, Mr. Beckel 2, Stephen Miller 2, Pennsylvania 2, Patriots 2, Phoenix Arizona 1, Washington Dc 1, Middelburg 1, Webpages 1, Steven Miller 1, Harry Reid 1
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